The Sheikh's Secret Babies(6)

By: Lynne Graham

‘In the wrong mood, he’s challenging,’ Chrissie acknowledged ruefully. ‘But Soraya’s the exact same if you cross her. They like to test you out. They’re quite volatile.’

Very much like their father, Chrissie reflected helplessly. An image of Jaul flashed into her head, long blue-black hair loose on his broad shoulders, brilliant dark eyes shimmering with anger. Hotter than hot, she thought numbly. Hot-tempered, hot-blooded, hot in bed, hot in every way there was. A snaking quiver of forbidden heat washed through her taut length. But Jaul had also been incredibly stubborn, impulsive and unpredictable.

‘Are you feeling all right?’ Sally asked, plucking the twins worriedly from their mother’s loosened grasp. ‘Sorry, you looked a bit pale and spaced out there for a moment.’

‘I’m fine.’ Chrissie flushed to the roots of her pale hair, scrambled up and hurried into the tiny kitchen to make the tea in Sally’s place.

Sometimes the past just leapt up and smacked her in the face without warning. A memory would dart through her and time would freeze, catapulting her backwards. A stray word or a familiar smell or piece of music could rip her apart in the space of seconds, leaving her no hiding place from the backwash of old pain. If she hadn’t loved Jaul, she would have got over him much more easily. But then she told herself that for the sake of her children she was glad that she had loved Jaul even if it hadn’t lasted, even though he had used her and lied to her and probably cheated on her as well.

The money his father had offered her had been the bottom line, telling her everything she needed to know about the rogue male, who had told her they were married and would be together for ever. Jaul thought that money was the perfect solution to every problem, magically soothing hurt feelings and disappointed hopes. His immense wealth had provided him with a smooth escape route from all such tiresome complications. ‘Together for ever’ had come with a hidden qualification; ‘together for ever’ had only lasted until Jaul had become bored. Unhappily, it had never occurred to Chrissie when she was with him that one day she would be a tiresome complication in his life too.

‘People expect me to be generous,’ he had told her once.

‘Just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to splash it around,’ Chrissie had countered. ‘That’s extravagant and wasteful and it looks like you’re showing off.’

Jaul had sent her an outraged glance. ‘I do not show off!’

Of course he had never had to show off to command attention. He was breathtakingly good-looking and guaranteed to turn female heads wherever he went and, if his looks didn’t do it for him, his flash sports cars, phalanx of bodyguards and luxury lifestyle had made their own very effective impression.

Chrissie passed a mug of tea to Sally, who had settled the twins back on the floor to play.

‘I’ve packed all their favourite toys and put them in my car. That’ll be one less thing for you to worry about when you’re packing up tomorrow,’ Sally told her.

Slamming a door shut on the memories attacking her, Chrissie smiled at the brunette. ‘Thanks but I’ve come to stay at the town house so often now that I reckon I could pack in my sleep. I can’t wait to see Lizzie and the kids,’ she confided.

‘Max and Giana will be fascinated by the twins now they’re more active,’ Sally confided.

‘Giana will be disgusted that they no longer stay where you put them.’ Chrissie laughed, picturing her bossy little toddler niece, who treated Tarif and Soraya like large dolls and held tea parties for them. ‘Or keep their hands off her toys.’

When Sally had gone, Chrissie fed the twins and put them in the bath before settling them into their cots for the night. While she read their nightly story to them, she was wondering where or indeed if she would have a job when the summer was over. She had only been teaching on a temporary contract, covering maternity leave, and permanent jobs were as scarce as hens’ teeth. That concern still in mind, she went to bed early and slept fitfully.

The next day Chrissie got up on automatic pilot to feed and dress the twins before putting them down for their nap so that they would be fresh when they arrived with her sister and her family. She was running round tidying up, still clad in her comfortable sleep shorts and a tee, when the doorbell buzzed.

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